Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for people ages one to 44. The CDC reports that nearly 40 million people visit the doctor every year because of accidental injuries. While some of these injuries are unavoidable, thousands of accidents every day leave victims injured because of someone else’s negligence.
When you or someone you love suffers an injury in an accident caused by someone else, you deserve compensation for your injuries. In Massachusetts, the law allows you to take legal action to recover money damages from the person who harmed you. An experienced personal injury attorney can help maximize your recovery. Knowing who to hire can make all the difference.
Experience is Key
Injured victims of someone else’s wrongful conduct need a legal advocate who will fight for their rights. An experienced personal injury attorney guides clients through the legal process of seeking justice, accountability, and compensation from those who did them harm.
It is not difficult to find a personal injury lawyer. However, that does not mean it is easy to find the right personal injury lawyer for your case. Believe it or not, personal injury law covers a broad range of specialties and areas of focus.
- Car accidents: In one recent year, 142,113 motor vehicle accidents took place in Massachusetts. Nearly a quarter of these accidents involved injury and 332 resulted in a fatality. If you are in a car accident, a personal injury attorney will help you prove fault, talk to the insurance company, and negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement.
- Workplace accidents: Workers’ compensation attorneys help injured workers recover compensation through an at-times complicated and highly regulated legal process. Workers’ comp cases often require following specific procedures carefully, so an attorney with connections in this area is essential.
- Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider’s mistake leads to a patient sustaining a personal injury. Medical malpractice cases involve complicated facts and legal processes. They often require expert witnesses and extensive medical reviews. It is always best to hire an attorney with extensive malpractice experience.
- Premises liability: Premises liability laws hold property owners responsible for keeping visitors to their properties safe from injuries caused by slip and fall accidents, swimming pool tragedies, dog bites, and similar incidents.
It is always a safe bet to seek out an attorney with experience in the specific type of accident or incident that led to your injuries. Many lawyers or law firms focus on specific areas of personal injury practice.
Narrow Down by Location
In most cases, victims of personal injury should search for an attorney locally, and only widen their search if they cannot find a lawyer nearby who has the relevant experience. There are two reasons for this—familiarity and convenience. In regards to familiarity, every local court has its own particular rules, personalities, and rhythms.
A local attorney knows these “inside baseball” aspects of taking a personal injury case to your local courts. This kind of familiarity can prove essential to reaching a favorable settlement with other local lawyers and winning arguments in front of local judges. Plus, an out-of-town attorney is less likely to know doctors and care providers in your area and can’t give you referrals or get the doctors to accept deferred payment.
As for convenience, hiring an attorney who practices nearby comes with obvious benefits. It makes it for your attorney to meet with you, to collect evidence from you, and to coordinate various aspects of your case.
Don’t Undervalue the Importance of Trust
When you choose a personal injury attorney, it’s important to work with someone you can trust to have your best interests in mind. No one wants to question whether their attorney is fully invested in pursuing compensation. A lack of trust can lead to communication problems and make it more difficult for you to recover the damages you deserve. How do you find someone you can trust?
Start with personal referrals: Referrals are a great way to find a personal injury attorney. If someone you trust had a good experience with a personal injury lawyer in a case similar to yours, then consider meeting with that lawyer to talk about your case, too.
Do your research: Whether you get a name from a friend or find an attorney on the web, there are many resources available that can tell you more about the attorney. AVVO is a great resource to find out what past clients have to say about an attorney. To see whether your attorney has a disciplinary history, visit the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.
Meet with more than one attorney: You do not have to hire the first attorney you find or meet with. Many attorneys offer free consultations. This may be over the phone or in person. Take advantage of that offer to find an attorney who seems like a good “fit.” Make a list of attorneys that meet the qualifications you are looking for and then sit down with a few. If you don’t feel comfortable or just don’t “mesh,” move on.
Ask questions: When you sit down with an attorney, ask about the attorney’s experience and expertise in cases like yours. It is always a good idea to make a list of questions, so that you do not forget to ask something important. Questions to consider include:
- Do you have experience handling my type of case?
- How long have you been practicing law?
- What kind of team/resources to you have available to you?
- What’s the best way to get ahold of you? How accessible is your team (i.e. hours, cell phone contact)?
- Are you comfortable taking my case to court?
- How do you handle payment? What are your fees?
After an accident involving injuries, begin your search for a personal injury attorney right away. Finding the right attorney can make all the difference in your case.